The Not-So-Hidden Treasures of Kennywood Park


Built in the 1880s, Kennywood Park has offered families in the Pittsburgh region joy and amusement for well over a century. And while the park does a great job of creating new attractions that keep us spellbound, it also hasn't forgotten its roots. Meandering around the winding paths of this historic summer haven, it's not hard to imagine Gibson girls and their beaus doing the same. And much of that has to do with the carefully preserved details that don't just give a nod to the past-- they walk right up and introduce themselves.


So as I visited Kennywood this weekend-- in addition to getting my obligatory batch of savory Potato Patch fries and spinning myself dizzy on the Exterminator-- I realized there's no better treasure this week, to pour from the Treasure Box, than the beauty of this local landmark.

The carousel was a logical place to start. And for lovers of Victorian art nouveau, it doesn't get much more detailed than this...

Cherubs peer from between ornate mirrors, while jokers laugh at the crowd around them...


Select a prancing pony...


Or maybe something a little more exotic...



And for the older crowd, how about this intricate art nouveau bench?


Step away from the carousel, and we see history in the park's wooden roller coasters. The facade of the Racer is the same design this dual coaster had sported in the 1920s. After a period of modernization, it was returned to this original appearance with loving restoration...


The vision of new and old can be seen here, as well, where wooden spires stand side-by-side the roaring metal thunder of the Phantom's Revenge-- one HECK of a rip-roaring roller coaster ride.

Step a bit further, and we're through the threshold of Lost Kennywood, an area following the original footprint of the park, and from the time when Pittsburgh was minus an ending "H"!...


Here the Bavarian Swing has much to say about a time when decoration really mattered...


With landscapes...


And ladies fair...


Even the fountains of the park speak of attention to detail, and that littlest bit of magic...


You might find yourself back to the future in go-go boots...


Or carried away by some Pittsburgh pirates!..


So let's play a few rounds of ski-ball...



Have a fresh-squeezed lemonade...


And then, I'm afraid, I have to say...

Goodnight!


And maybe I'll see you this Sunday? If not, enjoy that beautiful summer weather, my friends!

17 comments:

Da Old Man said...

Beautiful photos. Looks like such a great place to visit. Did you play ski ball for old times sake, or just take the picture?

Jenn Thorson said...

DaOldMan- Yes, actually, I did. They were having some technical problems, so I didn't play as much as I was hoping, but one of my friends did pretty well with it.

chyna said...

What a beautiful carousel! We stopped at the carousel in Seattle last October while at the zoo and that was pretty fantastic. Seeing an old one would be awesome! thanks for the pics.

Jenn Thorson said...

Chyna- There really is some amazing art on carousels... it tickles me to no end. The amount of detailed painting that goes into it, just to keep it looking fresh, is mind-boggling.

Leslie said...

kennywood park seems sweet-- too bad im not anywhere near there! :)

-Leslie.

http://lncgreetings.blogspot.com

Jenn with 2 enns said...

Wow, Kennywood looks amazing! I love old amusement parks, they've got a little bit something extra, some magic that's missing from new ones. Thanks for sharing all this!

Jenn Thorson said...

Leslie- Well, that's the nice thing about the internet, I think-- you can "tour" places you might otherwise never get to see. Thanks for visiting!

Jenn with 2 enns- I'm with you on the love of amusement parks. Those little old-fashioned details really make the parks seem special.

Rethoryke said...

Somewhere around here at Chez Rhet I've got the Steel Phantom shirt I won the year the ride opened. Didn't ride that one myself, but I did enjoy the rabbit one. Jackrabbit?

Carrie said...

I enjoyed this visit to this amusement park. It is a treasure and I am glad that there are people who work to preserve such places for our continuing enjoyment.
This makes me want to go and pphotograph local treasures to share with others on my blog.

ThriftShopRomantic said...

Carrie- Oh, glad you enjoyed the little tour. I would love to see what local treasures you have in your area. You always bring a lot of history and interest to your posts, so I bet you'd do a great job with that.

ThriftShopRomantic said...

Rhet- The original Phantom was fairly painful-- I'd ridden that twice and each time ended up with a bit of a wrenched neck.

The Phantom's Revenge, while it looks more menacing, is actually better arranged, and is a smooth ride, if Xtreme. :)

~d said...

Geese Louise.. it took me ages to figure out how to comment... I was diggin.. stumbling.. lol

Ok.
From one Pittsburgher to another.. Kennywood is the ultimate. Idlewild is a close second.

I saw you on WHite O Morn and thought .. well now.. WHO is that?

Funny ass jello story.
d

Jenn Thorson said...

D- I haven't gotten to go to Idlewild in YEARS, but I probably should sometime soon. I remember as a kid being in awe of Storybook Forest. It just seemed too good to be true.

How funny to find a fellow-Pittsburgher through the blog of an Irish cottage-lover! The world is getting smaller all the time.

Thanks for visiting!

Bethoni said...

Amazing photos! I miss Pittsburgh so much!

Jen said...

I should use your blog post as my portfolio! You have some beautiful pictures of my work! It is really nice to know that there are still people that appreciate the little details!

Jenn Thorson said...

Bethoni- Thanks-- Kennywood does have some wonderful charm, I was glad I'd remembered my camera that day. I went this year and had forgotten it, so I was all the happier I got what I did last year.

Jen- Ah, we had had some similar shots and angles on things, as I recall. There are certain things at Kennywood that just demand photos. :) I was grateful for having good zoom on my camera. It made it easier to crop in on the details.

Jen said...

No not similar angles..... I meant that I've painted almost everything in your photos. (Carousel, Fish, Wave Swinger(still a work in progress) Please stop by some time this year to check out the Bayern Kurve if you haven't been to the park this year! That was last year's winter project!